Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Brock Fenton


The effect of trophic level on the isotopic compositions of nitrogen (δ15N), carbon (δ13C) and oxygen (δ18O) is well documented, but the effect that trophic level has on the stable hydrogen isotopic composition of bat fur (δ2Hfur) is not known. This can have implications when assigning the locations of origin of bats in migration studies that use δ2Hfur. I hypothesized that if there is an effect of trophic level on δ2Hfur, then δ2Hfur would correlate positively with trophic level. I tested this possibility by correlating δ2Hfur with δ15Nfur and δ13Cfur, which both positively correlate with trophic level, and with δ18Ofur, which does not correlate with trophic level. My results show that δ2Hfur increases by 15 to 40 ‰ per trophic level, which supports my hypothesis. Understanding the effect that trophic level has on δ2Hfur can help researchers assign more accurate locations of origin for bats. Together, δ15Nfur, δ13Cfur and δ2Hfur can help determine what bats are eating at the individual or population level.

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